Moot highlights importance of peace in subcontinent

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One wonders as to why the two nuclear rival nations – Pakistan and India–are hostile to each other despite having a similar culture, observed the children who have recently visited India to attend a ‘Peace Conference’ there, at an even held here on Tuesday.
The progamme called ‘Colours of Peace’ was organised by the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) in collaboration with the Funkor Children Centre (FCC), and the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD). Fauzia Minallah, a renowned artist and documentary maker, presented her paintings, notebooks, published books, and videos of art-based projects with children, promoting ‘peace, and tolerance’.
The children from the Cavalry Charismatic Church in Mehra Jafar talked about ‘Aami’- the bird of light, a cartoon character created by Fauzia Minallah. Children of Faiz Church French Colony also sung on the occasion. Young Faran Rana of Khaldunia School also presented a number of songs composed by him. Renowned poetess and columnist Kishwar Nahid, Prof Ashfaq Saleem Mirza, rights activists, artists and a number of children attended the function. Young Nadir conducted the proceedings.
As many as 10 children from Khaludia School were part of delegation that had visited India last month with the core objective of promotion of peace between India and Pakistan through people-to-people initiatives. Sharing their experiences in the neighboring country, children including Ammar Khan, Waleed, Ayesha, Khadija and Farda said that they had started off their journey with stereotypical thinking inherited from many around them that Indians were prejudiced against Pakistanis.
“It did not happen because as soon as we met Indian people, we mingled with them and for a moment we forgot even if we were in India,” they observed.
“During our stay, we conceived candidly that there almost everything between the two great countries was common. Staying theirs was a joyful memorable experience for us and as we often thought Delhi was our second home,” said Ayesha, adding that they went there with the message of peace and they reflected it through their paintings, interaction with school children, and by the reading from the poetry of Faiz and Tagore- the two legendary poets.
They said that wherever they went, they were received warmly. “Children from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Kashmir had participated in the interaction activities to share their lifestyles and experiences of their countries with each other.
We are surprised to know that the thinking of Indian and Pakistani children was the same,” Ayesha said.
“It was indeed a learning experience for us, as we imported and exported ideas. For showcasing Pakistani culture, we produced a few of documentaries and showcased it to Indian people containing various photographs,” Ayesha said.
When asked as to what was the most frequently asked question, Ayesha said majority of people there had asked us about terrorism, Taliban, and the Kashmir issue. “We told them Pakistani government was dealing with all the issues. We are Muslims, and not terrorists- as you people might think. Terrorist has no religion, no nationality, and no caste or creed,” said Farda.
She said that during their stay, the only thing they missed was meat and chicken since most of the Indians they had men were vegetarians.
“At that time, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was also in India and Indian people praised her outlook a lot and they also shared that with us, giving the notion that they loved Pakistani people,” she added.
“One thing we learnt from Indians was that they were good in maintaining greenery there. Wherever we went they told us that certain trees were hundreds of years old. There was one particular tree that was almost 500 years old,” recalled Ayesha.
Earlier, short documentaries titled ‘Let Them Bloom’ and ‘Rang-e-Amn’, directed and produced by Minallah and with the message of peace and tolerance was screened.
‘Let Them Bloom’ is a documentary featuring Muslim and Sikh children, who paint to promote peace and interfaith harmony, said Minallah.
Faran Rana concluded the event by singing ‘Aitbar’- a song originally sung by Junaid jamshed. Later, Rana, also a student of Khaldunia, presented a song ‘Shabd’- a song written and composed by his own. On the occasion, the premises of SAFMA were well-decorated with a large painted banner spreading from wall to wall with a message of peace and tolerance.
Another large banner with paintings and poetry on it read: “Hum Phool Khilaany Walay- Hum Phool Sy Saray Bachay, Hum Jang Nahi Honay Daingay”.

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